Uncle Jake’s here to hook you up with some of the latest and greatest horror short stories available online right now. Stories that will challenge, evolve, and redefine what horror is, and what it will become. These are themed mix-tapes of fear, dread, danger, and gore, lovingly curated just for your reading pleasure.
During the Guests of Honor panel at NecronomiCon Providence this year, moderator s.j. bagley asked each of the guests to define Weird Fiction. There were intelligent, elegant responses (all of which have slipped right out of Ol’ Uncle Jake’s brain because he was so enchanted by the Guests to actually take notes, haha) but the summation of it seemed to be that while horror fiction contracts the world of the reader, weird fiction expands it. It takes the feeling of things are not what they seem and alters it into something closer to things are not what they seem but we’ve got to live with it anyway. The goal is destabilization, to knock the reader off their feet a little, to throw a Dutch angle into their life and show them something that will make them rethink the world as they know it. Weird fiction unnerves. It alters. It twists. Survival’s not even the primary goal in a lot of Weird stories. It’s acceptance.
Of course, the best part about defining the Weird is if you ask twenty different people you get twenty different answers, so let’s all just agree that it’s a thing and if you’re anything like me, you love it.
I had the pleasure this year to meet each of the Guests of Honor. I rode elevators with Stephen Graham Jones and Ellen Datlow, sat beside Peter Straub, chatted with Nnedi Okorafor, had drinks with Kij Johnson, and besides their influence on the past, present, and future of Weird Fiction, the one thing they all have in common is that they’re all incredibly nice and generous with their time. I’m hoping there might be a story or two here you haven’t read before, and that it might lead you to pick up more fiction by the Guests, or to get more Weird Fiction in general.
So, let’s stop fussing and make it Weird:
This is an intense story of two beings in a life raft, and what happens while they’re trapped in there. Johnson doesn’t pull her punches on this story. It’s fast, graphic, and unforgettable.
Stuck in traffic, Nkem takes an ill-advised detour off the road, and into some serious weirdness tied with his past. Okorafor brings Nigeria to life in her fiction, and this is one of my favorites from her.
An unconventional stroll through darkness. Straub is a legend and right from the start of this weird horror tale, you know you’re in for something different.
One of my absolute favorite Weird Fiction stories ever–originally written for the Word Horde anthology The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron. Junior and his son are out hunting and whether or not they know it they’ll be going home with something.
Sometimes you’ve got to dig a little deeper. Pull a book down from your shelf, run out to the library, or order it from Amazon. Get a collection or anthology in your hands, crack the pages, and get into it. These “Hidden Tracks” can’t be found online (as of this publication), but are worth seeking out and devouring. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt by tracking them down.
Instead of single stories this month, I’m going to recommend three excellent anthologies by another of NecronomiCon Providence’s esteemed Guests of Honor: Ellen Datlow. All three of these Lovecraftian anthologies are filled with tremendous stories by a variety of tremendous writers, and all are worth your time. If you want an education in modern weird and horror authors, get these three collections and read them front to back. Your mind will be properly blown.
Children of Lovecraft
If you enjoyed our Midnight Mix-Tape and want to read our Hidden Tracks please consider clicking through to our Amazon Affiliate links. If you do you’ll help keep the This Is Horror ship afloat with some very welcome remuneration.